Beach Re-nourishment Project
Alabama beaches are getting a little extra attention thanks to a $16 million project dedicated to restoring the shoreline in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The project will restore approximately 2.2 million cubic yards of sand – the equivalent of about 688 Olympic-size swimming pools, along 16 miles of coastline. The project should widen the beach by about 65 feet on average. An estimated 650,000 to 700,000 cubic yards of sand have already been placed on the shoreline. The project is being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Gulf State Park, and the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
After the sand is placed, it will be raked to loosen it enough for the marine animals to continue living and traveling on the beach as usual. The plan is to till the sand to ensure it stays loose for the next couple of years. There will also be new sea oat plantings in the spring to help the dunes stay in place.
This project will replace sand lost in recent hurricanes and extend the beach back to its original position. In addition to building more beach for residents and visitors to enjoy, this will also help create a longer distance for storm surge to travel before it reaches any beachfront buildings.
Do not be concerned about this project interfering with your spring break or summer plans, however. Most of the work will be done before these time periods, and the work that is still left to do will be in areas where visitors are unlikely to go. If you haven’t made plans to visit the beach this year, think about this: Facebook fans of The Weather Channel voted Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as the best kid-friendly beach, Southern Living ranked Orange Beach in its list of 10 best weekend getaways, Coastal Living listed Gulf Shores as one of the 21 best beaches and USA Today’s article “Just for summer: 51 Great American Beaches” includes the Alabama Gulf Coast.